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Six ways to cut your car hire bill

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

When it comes to hiring a car, it’s all too easy to be hit with hidden fees and unexpected charges. And with the value of the pound continuing to tumble, it’s more important than ever for holidaymakers to avoid spending more than necessary.

Booking in advance is the easiest way to avoid a hefty bill, but there are plenty of other things you can do to save on car hire.

We asked the experts at Rentalcars.com for their top tips….

Mileage limits

Deals with limited mileage can be cheaper – but only if you’re not planning on doing much driving.  If you go over the limit, every extra mile or kilometre will cost you when you return the car. So, if you’re going a long way or want the freedom to explore, paying a little more for a deal with unlimited mileage is the safest bet.

Pick-up locations

If you’re renting a car at an airport, don’t rule out rental companies outside of the airport grounds – they often have cheaper prices than those in the terminal. Getting there shouldn’t be a problem as they usually run a free shuttle bus.

Number of drivers

If you’re planning to share the driving, look out for deals where an additional driver is included – even if they cost a little more.  Otherwise you’ll pay on average £10 per day per additional driver at the desk, and even more if he or she is under 25 years old.

Fuel policies

We always recommend choosing a ‘Full to Full’ fuel policy, where you’re given either a full or part-full tank of petrol at pick-up. All you need to do is make sure you drop the car off with the same amount of fuel it had when you started.  You only pay for what you use, and unlike other options, there are no fees to pay at the desk.


Car hire deals tend to come with some basic cover for damage and theft, but you might want to buy extra protection.  Buying additional insurance can be a fair bit cheaper (as well as less stressful) if you compare policies online in advance, rather than waiting until you’re at the rental desk.

Car groups

Hire cars are grouped together with others that share similar characteristics, such as size, number of seats and gearbox. So, if you see two different ‘economy’ cars to choose from, don’t be fooled if you prefer one model over another.  You’re hiring a car from a given group – not necessarily the exact make and model shown in the picture.  As long as you trust the rental company you’re using, there’s no reason not to go for the cheaper of the two – and nothing stopping you from asking for a free upgrade at the desk!